This is not meant to be a teaching but rather an acknowledgement of honest questions.
The book of Job, in the Bible, invites us to imagine other conversations between God and Satan. We can draw lessons for how to do more harm than good in comforting the suffering. We can rest in the story of how an encounter with God diffuses our questions and leaves us on our knees. We can nurture our trust in God as omnipotent, just and good.
But, is this an old biblical story or is this a glimpse into how God works in the lives of us with whom He is in relationship.
Let me be clear that any affiliation with Job as blameless would be because of our embracing the complete and total exoneration of our sin on Calvary. I am not setting myself, or anyone else, up as a person without character flaws.
My question is does Satan ask God if He has considered me and then, is a test set up to see if I would stand firm in my faith if my worst nightmare became a reality.
Maybe, to be more concise, “Is my love for and trust in God conditional”?
In my limited exposure, I have seen this to be a bigger struggle for the church in the USA than in other places of the world. And, as a product of this church, I have internalized this dilemma.
I remember a Chinese house church believer asking me why I thought it would be a problem if they suffered in their pursuit of learning more about Jesus. We both knew that imprisonment might be the cost of attending the seminar I referenced.
I remember an esteemed African professor of theology leaving his post and living an impoverished life as he followed God’s leading for rebuilding the broken nation of Congo. I remember passing this spiritual giant on the steps of our church and giving him lunch money.
I remember a distinguished doctor in India who travels by train, tired and cold, suffering personal pain to set up palliative care for others who are suffering.
Is it possible that Satan has approached God, pointed out this Chinese believer and asked if he would stay steadfast if prison became a reality? Would the African professor praise Jesus if his dreams died? Would the Indian doctor pour out her life for the care of others if her own life became racked with pain?
Closer to home, will I engage in prayer and worship if that which I have trusted God to do does not follow the design that I have developed?
Does my response to my heartbreak give God the opportunity to say to Satan, “I told you her faith would not fail.”
I don’t know if Job’s story is an exception or not, but I want my story to be one that other’s can read and discover that Jesus has already won!